The real-estate market is slowly getting better, but if Congress doesn't act in time, mortgage rates could soar
It's tough to see, given the onslaught of brutal economic and political news that has dominated recent headlines, but Thursday actually brought a sliver of good news about the beleaguered housing market: The National Association of Realtors reported that its measure of pending home sales climbed by 2.4 percent in June, followed a strong but oft-forgotten 8.2 percent rise in May.
Thursday's report surpassed the Bloomberg consensus forecast for a 2 percent drop. But despite the signs of new life in the housing market, potentially terrible news looms on the horizon. If Congress and President Obama can't find agreement on raising the nation's borrowing limit, the housing sector could suffer another big hit.
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Housing remains the economy's most troublesome problem child. Unlike consumer spending and hiring, which each surged briefly during this slow-and-go recovery, housing has stayed in near free-fall (except for the period when federal tax credits were propping it up artificially) throughout the country since the financial crisis.